EATON — The Eagles cross country team competed at the Talawanda Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 29.
The girls combined for a third place finish with an 86, behind Talawanda with a 42 and Oak Hills with a 33.
Among the 14 teams and 111 runners, Lauren Guiley led the Eagles with a 20:06, good for a fourth place finish.
Kiera Elliott finished 11th with a 21:28, Kaili Hewitt came in 15th with a 21:28, Rylie Haynes earned a 23rd place finish with a 22:51, and Cari Metz rounded out the top five for Eaton at 34th with a 23:16.
Additonal scores include:
42nd – Stephanie Gibson 23:59
43rd – Alli Schmidt 24:01
60th – Rachel Buckler 25:35
79th – Allison Mowen 27:57
86th – Grace Risner 28:37
92nd – Katy Rich 29:59
“The girls race was a very competitive meet for early in the season,” coach Randy McKinney said. “The race was primarily Division I teams, two of which were Regional Qualifying teams in 2019 (Talawanda & Oak Hills). We ran a very solid team race for this time in the season, managing to edge out Little Miami for the third team place by two points.”
He said the girls had a poor start and got pushed back in the pack of 14 teams and 111 runners, so they had to work hard to move up, and several of the girls did an excellent job moving up from the mile to two mile point.
“Just something we have to work on as a team, that’s what these early races are all about,” he said. “Although it was overcast at the start of the race, the day was a little humid and the course was very soft which always causes times to slow down, especially early in the season.”
He said that Lauren Guiley and Kiera Elliot did a “pretty good job” getting out, but they had to really work to move up much with the level of individual talent that was in the race.
Additionally, he said Kaili Hewitt made a big move after a slow start to finish well as did Rylie Haynes, and while Cari Metz struggled through much of the race with a knee issue, she did an outstanding job hanging on and finished as a solid fifth runner for the team.
“I’m very pleased with the overall effort of the girls team,” he said. “Each of them are at different points with their conditioning, experience so the team is only going to get better each week as the season progresses.”
On the boys side, they finished sixth at the event with a 181 behind Seven Hills (179), Oak Hills (90), Little Miami (83), Talawanda (62) and Kings (45).
Kolby Hamilton led Eaton with a 13th place finish with a time of 18:03. Austin Kopf finished 31st with a 19:05, James Baker finished 51st with a time of 20:04, Bradley Gifford came in 57th with a 20:20, followed closely by Logan Cottle, who finished 63rd with a time of 20:24 to round out the top five.
Additional times include:
68th – Cole Hauser 20:44;
72nd – Jaxon Roth 21:28
75th – Ryan Burns 21:47
90th – Dominic Isaacs 23:14
24th (JV Race) – Nick Laycox – 22:09
43rd (JV Race) – Chrales Kochensparger 23:37
“The men’s team started the week one and a half men down, but did an excellent job competing in what was a very tough early season meet dominated by strong division one competition,” McKinney said. “The Eagles ran without Jack Bortel who was out sick all week and senior Logan Cottle, who had four wisdom teeth removed last weekend, stepped to the line ready to give it his best effort for the team.”
He said that Hamilton moved up around 10 spots during the race and that Kopf moved up as well for his 31st overall finish.
“I can’t say enough positive things about senior Logan Cottle. He was cleared to compete, I told him to go on how he felt, but I was okay for him not to race at all,” McKinney said. “He chose to race, ran a solid race, but was really hurting when he finished.”
“The athletes on this team are a mixture of very young athletes, athletes new to the sport along with a few very experienced seniors,” he said. “It’s going to be fun watching this team improve as we move from week to week.
Both teams will return to action on Sept. 9 at the Valley View Invitational then again on Sept. 12 at the Fenwick Invitational.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles